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  #1  
Old 05-26-2011
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Wind gusts

What are y'all comfortable going out in?

I want to go sailing on Sat. They're predicting 18 with gusts up to 43. Sonofa...
But that happens often enough around here where any wind that would be "fun" comes with huge wind gusts.

So, do you reef for the gusts or watch the water and dump the sails when a gust comes, or...?
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Old 05-26-2011
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I pass at 30 kts unless I have little choice. Anything over 20 kts is not fun for non-sailing passengers. This is on a boat that doesn't need any reefing before 20 kts, even 25 kts if steady.

Are you sailing the 26 now? Some would, but I would not like 40 kt in that boat and would most certainly start fully reefed. Even if you are good enough to see the gust coming across the water, it's probably too late to reef.
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Old 05-26-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I pass at 30 kts unless I have little choice. Anything over 20 kts is not fun for non-sailing passengers. This is on a boat that doesn't need any reefing before 20 kts, even 25 kts if steady.

Are you sailing the 26 now? Some would, but I would not like 40 kt in that boat and would most certainly start fully reefed. Even if you are good enough to see the gust coming across the water, it's probably too late to reef.
I'm not taking it out in those winds. I just wondered what people do in general.
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Old 05-26-2011
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Depends on many variables. Am I going out for a quiet afternoon with the Admiral? That's a no go. Am I going somewhere with a good crew aboard? No problem.
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Old 05-26-2011
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I agree with Minne. I'm in Texas too (Austin) so it's always gusty and swirly. On our C27, she's rock solid up to about 20 knots with full sail...though a bit of a handful. And she's okay with a single reefed main and 110 up to 30. At 40, it really turns into work and caution. And I've never been out in 50 (except in a squall where I was sheltered by a cliff).

In general, I try to set the sails as full as I can get away with for the general conditions, then pay very close attention to the water to read the gusts and ease very quickly. I like fast.

Overall, 15-20 is definitely the sweet spot for us. Even our newb passengers have been good with it as long as I explain the whole heeling thing before hand.
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Old 05-26-2011
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You bet

I agree with Smack. I put a reef in the main at 18 to 20 true and adjust the genoa on the furler as needed when the wind gets higher. Also keep a good eye on the water! I was out last Saturday with winds steady at 20 and gusting up to 35 true and with just the two of us it was a bit of a handful but fun. I have a second reef in my main but have never used it. I figure if it is blowing that hard I'll just stay at the dock.

BTW, I was racing last Saturday. Five boats started and three finished. One broke a car on the genoa track and the other retired when he decided he couldn't make it back up wind to the finish line after rounding the last mark. He scooted over and hid behind a bluff but still ended up on the rocks. No major damage fortunately.
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Old 05-26-2011
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Gusts of 43? I'd stay at the dock. Why get beat up?
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Old 05-26-2011
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I'm new to sailing so I'm pretty conservative. I tend to prefer 12-15 kts, hopefully with gusts not over 20. I haven't tried to reef my main yet, but I suppose if I did I could handle a bit more. I only have one headsail, a 110 hank on, so I'm limited there.

I went out once in my ideal conditions, and while out there winds increased, 20 kts steady with gusts to 30. I was not prepared for that...not reefed or anything. I was only on the main and when it happened the boat became quite a handful. I was literally fighting the helm, the boat was trying to round up (didn't know what that was until then) heeling way over and generally scared the **** out of me. My mouth was dry, heart was racing...but I figured out really quick to work that mainsheet constantly, easing out and trimming up as needed, and as soon as I felt that strong puff to let that puppy out and spill some wind. As soon as I got under the protection of a cove I doused and had like 5 smokes before I motored back in.

Lesson learned.
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Old 05-26-2011
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When I have been out in those conditions, ie 30+, if racing with a crew, double reef and a 110, altho I wish I had a 80-90% foretriangle jib for those times, storm is too small....... I have a crew on the main all the time moving it. If I am with one or two others, we move the sail area down until it is comfortable. This has been a single reefed main a few times, still doing upper 4's into 5 knots.

While I would not say do not go out, if you do, think about as many issues as you can ahead of time, how to solve/fix, then if it happens, you have a plan. If something occurs you did not think about, well, as they say, life happens. 30+ can be fun if planned for. THen again, I have not been in an 18 steady with gusts to 43, usually 25-35 with gusts to 40'ish. last night was 12-25 with 15-20 steady. full main and 110 with 24 yr old sons during a race, full crew I could have done a 140 upwind, or at least the down wind leg would have flown te spin or 155 wing on wing.

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If you are going somewhere in particular I would consider point of sail. Running with 30 knots is an exhilarating sleigh ride - beating would be a very long day.
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